Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On TCM: The Case Against Brooklyn

TCM has put my DVR into overdrive these last couple of nights. There were a bunch of rarely shown Stewart Granger pictures on, mostly Westerns--not normally the kind of thing that gets me going, but I had a sudden jones for Stewart. (Richard Brooks' The Last Hunt, with Granger and Robert Taylor, really needs to be on DVD.) And there was also "undercover" night, which brought a cache of movies about undercover cops, like the entertaining B Bunco Squad, out of hiding.

Most enjoyable was 1958's The Case Against Brooklyn, which, as the trailer and poster italicize, is one of those torn-from-the-headlines melodramas, pitting young cop Darren McGavin against a laundry-based protection racket that uses crooked law enforcement officers as muscle. I doubt the filmmakers got much past the Columbia backlot for principal photography (a truck chase is very SoCal in location), but it was fun to hear "Atlantic Avenue" and "Prospect Heights" name-dropped for verisimilitude, and to see my neighborhood portrayed as it was in the bad old days, as a hotbed of vice and corruption. Making the case for Brooklyn was McGavin, a whip-smart actor (always to be remembered as Kolchak: The Night Stalker) in a typically colorful performance. He's Brooklyn, baby.

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